Chapter Two – Obtaining the Patent Grant

Chapter two covers the process of applying for and obtaining a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  This process is known by applicants as patent prosecution and by the examining corps as patent examination.  A basic understanding of the process is essential because of the far-reaching effects that choices made during prosecution can have on the strength, validity, and enforceability of the resulting patent.

In this chapter, the Sorensen Cup Holder Patent (the ‘497 patent) is used as an in-depth example, or case study.  Patent protection helped bring this invention to market through a commercial enterprise while simultaneously allowing the public to use the knowledge disclosed in the patent to develop new and better cup holders.  In fact, the ‘497 patent has been referenced in dozens of utility and design patents as prior art, including some granted as recently as late 2011.

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